Here’s some answers to questions I’ve gotten in the "Comments" section. Remember, I’m just a lone Ski Patroller. These aren’t "official" answers.
To John Palmer re: winds shutting down lifts:
Yeah, 40mph is target area around which things start to get hinky, and it’s a combo of maximum AND average wind speeds, not one or the other. Some lifts have warning alarms go off at lower wind speeds. Some lifts have auto shut-offs at certain speeds, which require intentional manual restarting. I’m avoiding stating hard-and-fast numbers and rules, because it’s not that simple. Heavier chairs swing less than lighter ones. Chairs loaded with huge, heavy people swing less than empty ones. And sometimes, snowboards catch the wind and cause chairs to swing more than skis do–so hang on! The vital wind speeds & directions (!!!) are the ones that cause the chairs to swing sideways. Remember: you can be standing at the bottom of REX relatively protected, and up at tower-15, it can be nukin’ a gale. Generally, when the anamometers are showing consistent winds around 30-35 mph, we patrollers keep our lunch in our pack, just in case.
To T-Ride re: something I can’t quite decipher:
I’m not sure what you were getting at, but all U.S. ski areas have pretty similar rules (SLOW areas, hit-&-run, etc.), except for a few rules that vary state-to-state as laws that govern ski area operations vary state-to-state. Also, sometimes Forest Service & BLM requirements vary a little–"open" boundaries vs. "closed" boundaries, etc. I get the impression your TV may have confused you the same way some other people’s did. You noticed that half of those Tru-TV "Ski Patrol" shows were from Blue Mountain, Pennsylvania, not us, right?. I guess you can try to "gap" our patrol shacks if you want, but dude, you’re going to get splinters!
To Nathan Wilson re: No-Boards (bindingless snowboards you ride like a skateboard):
We’re not crazy about the possibility of a handle-rope getting caught on stuff, but we allow "No-boards" as long as you’re heads-up about it, the leash prevents runaway equipment, and you can load and unload lifts without needing special help from the attendant. That’s also why we allow bikeboards (snowboards with short scooter-type handles) but DO NOT allow ski bikes or snow bikes. A few years ago I got to spend a day riding with pro snowboarder Jonaven Moore who "no-boarded" so his little brother could hang with him. It looked like you have to be as agile as Jonaven to avoid crashing into the lift line, so be careful! Oh, and thank you for asking, first!
For those who have expressed interest in finding out more about joining Crystal Mountain’s volunteer ski patrol, send an e-mail to: email@example.com.
See you on the slopes!